In August Nuala Bennett-Wildford won our country-wide Live at Your Local competition. However, had it not been for Nigel Corcoran, general manager of the Hoop & Toy in Kensington, she would not have even entered...

Nigel tells his story

Our pub is very close to South Kesington tube station tourists and commuters. I see them regularly as I walk my boy to and from school, which is where I first saw Nuala. I remember it was a cold winter’s day in January or February and she had a big crowd around her enjoying her playing and singing along. It is not often you see a busker getting people to stop and listen like that.

When Live at Your Local was launched I knew I wanted her to play at the pub so when I next saw gave it to her busking I ran back to the pub for a leaflet and gave it to her.

We are close to a music college at the Hoop & Toy so the competition was strong but Nuala blew everyone out of the water. From then on she became a pub mascot and the team was desperate for her to go as far as possible. A group of us went to the regional final at the George in Southwark where she was brilliant again and we went along to support her in the final too. 

Nuala opened the final, which is not always the best slot but she was her typical bubbly self and had the audience in the palm of her hand as usual. All eight acts on the night were great but we were so proud when Nuala was announced as the winner.

We can't wait to have Nuala back at the Hoop &Toy. We are having a refurbishment later in the year and hope she might be able to perform on our reopening night but who knows how busy she'll be by then?

Hoop & Toy general manager, Nigel Corcoran